The Carnivores is a 2020 American dark comedy horror film about a dog whose illness causes a relationship breakdown and increasing madness.
Directed by Caleb Michael Johnson from a screenplay co-written with Jeff Bay Smith, with additional dialogue by Tallie Medel, Lindsay Burdge, Frank Mosley, Vincent James Prendergast and Jason Newman. Produced by Ted Speaker, Caleb Johnson, Thomas Fernandes, and Adam J. Minnick.
The movie stars Lindsay Burdge (The Invitation), Tallie Medel and Aiden the dog as Harvie.
Harvie the dog is has a fatal illness and he’s ruining everything. What had been a bright little family is quickly being consumed by clouds of self-doubt, suspicion, and a disturbing amount of ground beef.
Bret (Lindsay Burdge) is taking the news hard. She’s had Harvie since before the relationship and is startled to find just how much of her sense of self is wrapped up in her history with him. Alice (Tallie Medel) thus finds herself on the outside of a relationship looking in. Bret’s obsession with the dog is getting overtly unhealthy, yet the more Alice attempts to connect, the further Bret retreats.
As the stress on Alice, a vegan, manifests in increasingly strange ways involving sleepwalking and a fascination with meat, she plans to get rid of Harvie to reclaim Bret’s love. But when Alice wakes one night holding an empty leash with no sign of Harvie except his severed ear, she begins to fear she’s become a monster. As each woman sets out in search of what’s been lost, Alice and Bret uncover parts of each other they never suspected, hideous and beautiful alike.
Following its world premiere in March 2020 at SXSW, Dark Sky Films will release The Carnivores had theatrically and on Digital and on VOD on June 4, 2021.
Reviews [click links to read more]:
” …deliberately ambiguous and full of sly touches of humor, while the cinematography by Johnson and Adam J. Minnick and the soundtrack by Curtis Heath frequently evoke horror tropes, although sometimes in the service of misdirection. The result is a film that keeps you off balance while holding your interest to the end.” The Arts Stl
“If you are a fan of abstract, surreal storytelling supported by strong central performances and a fascinating relationship dynamic, then The Carnivores has more than enough meat for you to chew.” The Hollywood Outsider
” …the film is held afloat by a fiercely independent and unorthodox spirit that tells a story full of dark humor and visual ironies […] It’s a bold combination of genres that sits somewhere right between a psychological thriller and a grounded relationship drama, and an affecting treatise on how far we’ll go when we need to feel needed.” Ready Steady Cut
“Dim echoes of David Lynch and early Roman Polanski abound throughout The Carnivores, a fitfully fascinating mix of teasing narrative opacity and stylized psycho-thriller atmospherics […] What saves The Carnivores time and again from turning irredeemably silly are the portentous undercurrents that percolate beneath the deceptively bland surfaces…” Variety
Cast and characters:
Lindsay Burdge … Bret
Tallie Medel … Alice
Frank Mosley … Dog-Man
Vincent James Prendergast … Roland (Bank Guy)
Jason Newman … Veterinarian
Thomas Fernandes … Postal Manager
Aiden Colquitt … Harvie
Lorelei Johnson … Street Kid
Aaron Johnson … Street Kid
Doris Clark … Bank Customer
Brooke Whipple … Deer Butcher